Eliminate Cellulite With Your Foam Roller; Myth or Reality?

Can you actually avoid liposuction, fat injections, crash diets, lotions n’ potions, extreme fitness regimens and get rid of cellulite in a more natural less drastic way?

Well you certainly can make vast improvements to the texture and tone of your skin. This can reduce the visible signs of cellulite and leave your skin in a much better, “healthier” condition. How is is done?

With a foam roller.

– Really, this can’t be possible, can it?

There is a layer of collagen infused connective tissue just below your skin known as the superficial fascia.  This fibrous tissue is made up of multiple layers which surrounds your muscles, and blood vessels. It separates them so they can move independently, and if they clash it has a non-abrasive lubricated surface so no damage will occur.

Underneath the fascia membrane your body stores its subcutaneous fat (also known as subcutis) layers which insulate your body, kind of like your own central heating system. They also provide a layer of protection for your vital organs.

reduce cellulite with foam rolling

If your fascia is damaged or is in bad shape, pockets of fat can seep through from the subcutis and appear on the surface of your skin. These blobs of fat manifest as cellulite.

Genetics also play a pivotal role in cellulite production. Up to 90% of adolescent females are thought to be effected by cellulite. The figure is only 10% in men, who primarily get it above the hip region, with women its the reverse.

Some Scientists Question Whether Cellulite Actually Exists

In scientific terms cellulite is known under numerous technical terms: adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, gynoid lipodystrophy, and status protrusus cutis. You also probably know it as orange peel syndrome.

The undeniable fact is that fat is stored beneath your skin, and under your fibrous connective tissue, but scientists are split over whether cellulite is a specific fat, or just subcutaneous fat.

Cellulite was not originally even a medical term. It first surfaced in an article in Vogue in April 1968, before becoming a catchphrase, and before making it’s way into medical text books several years later, in the form “cellulite” as we know it today.

The word was logged in 1873 in a French medical dictionary but cellulite in 1873 had nothing to do with cottage cheese skin and more to do with skin infections and inflammation.

Treatments that tackle cellulite have been likened to fools gold akin to the charlatan Medicine Man plaguing the wild west with his fake pills, thrills, and topicals (and now in 2019- probiotics anyone?).

So How Does Foam Rolling Factor In The Fat Reducing Conundrum?

You can actually improve the condition of your fascia by using a foam roller. If you can restore the elasticity to this connective tissue and improve the flow of blood through your skin, your body will work faster to eliminate toxins. Toxins can be stored in fat cells.

A more supple fascia will also be harder to penetrate. Regular rolling exfoliates the connective tissue and improves it strength. Rolling areas of cellulite is similar to using a good scrub on your skin.

If you can keep blood moving to this area in a faster more effective manner  toxins will flush out quicker and with regular exercise push the muscles closer to the skins surface. This will firm the skin which also reduces the appearance of cellulite.

The key to working against cellulite therefore with a roller is to work on the fascia tissue. The fascia surrounds every muscle and organ in your body. Regular foam rolling has the following benefits.

  • It can reduce the appearance of cellulite
  • Foam rolling can improve the texture and reduce the appearance of stretch marks
  • improves athletic performance in the gym and before sports activites by warming up the muscles
  • helps with recovery after workouts/running/sports/athletic activity
  • can reduce pain and inflammation
  • can improve flexibility and mobility when used in conjunction with stretching, gets muscles prepped for activity
  • warms up muscles and improves their range of motion- great if you are planning activities where the body will be stretched- mma-gymnastics-pilates-crossfit-running etc
  • can help reduce scar tissue left behind after injuries or surgery
  • can improve circulation which has too many health benefits to mention

How to Boost The Effectiveness of Foam Rolling

To improve the effectiveness of foam rolling cellulite, fat reduction is key. If you can lower your body fat cellulite will become less noticeable. As your body becomes more lean the content in your fat cells is reduced. As cellulite is a type of fat exercise and diet are key to it’s elimination.

Exercise is a great way to help you burn more calories than you eat. This is the key to reducing body fat. You don’t have to even join a gym because you can decimate calories doing any of the following:

  • fast walking
  • cycling
  • skating
  • swimming
  • dancing
  • skipping

Any aerobic activity that involves using the lower body can have the double effect of lowering your calorie surplus and tightening the lower body. Tightening the skin around the hips, thighs and buttocks will improve the texture of the skin and improve the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. Getting a good nights sleep on a regular basis is also great for improving skin quality. If you have trouble sleeping try a futon mattress.

If you can amp up the speed during any of these activities it will make them more successful. Increasing the intensity of cardiovascular exercise (even fast walking falls into this category) causes the body to use more oxygen. As the body uses more oxygen it burns more fat. So there is some truth in the couch potato saying.

Running has been shown by a published government medical study to burn more fat than cycling. The closest thing to running is brisk walking. Brisk walking has been shown to be just if not more effective and safer than running.

Imagine what one hour of fast walking 3 times per week over the course of a year would do to your physique.

150 hours over a year of solid fat attacking. Not to mention how good you will feel as fresh oxygenated blood rushes through your body and increases your fitness and well being.

Even fast walking on a cheap treadmill if you are too busy to get outside. Even a manual treadmill if your budget is lower. Exercise and fat loss doesn’t need to be complicated.

Need Motivation To Cut Sugar From Your Diet?

Every day our senses and dopamine levels rise (and maybe our greed tendencies) as we are bombarded with hi-res images of calorie dense food and snacks, much of it with a high sugar content. At the same time we are also constantly reminded about the evils of sugar from the health world. Consuming more and more sugar is a vicious circle.

The more we eat the more we crave. The less “extra” sugar coated food we eat the less we crave. The application of the latter though is extremely tough. Here are some reasons to try and cut down on your sugar content.

Let them be the driving forces along with a bit of will power to fight back against sugar.

Why Diet Alone Is Not The Answer

A good diet, adequate hydration, cutting or eliminating smoking and alcohol, and cutting back on calories can reduce the amount of  fat stored beneath the skin, which in turn can make cellulite less apparent. But there are more conditions at work that make this fight unfair.

In childhood a womans connective tissue is more supple and elastic. It can stretch and revert back to its shape without much fuss. This connective tissue starts to degenerate and firm during the aging process.

When hormones kick in after puberty fat cells start to accumulate in larger clumps, which penetrate weaknesses in the connective tissue and push towards the outer layer of skin.

Getting older is certainly a drag in more ways than one. Once the visible outer layer of skin starts to degenerate due to the aging process it starts to sag. Your skin is literally dragging towards the floor.

Womens connective tissue also runs vertically. This doubly enhances the effect of gravity – as the skin looks loose and fatty cellulite cells appear to look even worse.

And yes you probably guessed it – stress has also been shown to be a key proponent in the appearance of cellulite. It increases the bodies amount of catecholamines which have been linked to cellulite production.

Tightening The Skin Is A Win-Win Against Cellulite

The right exercise selection, and diet will triple the effect of foam rolling. Strengthening the areas of skin where cellulite is prone to- the thighs, hips, buttocks, belly, can also tighten the skin.

Women have thinner skin than men. This is one of the reasons women get cellulite below the waist, as opposed to above the waist as in the case of men. Cellulite attaches to loose portions of the skin. Toning and tightening this can help combat cellulite and potentially give it less of a chance to bed in.

Improving muscle mass will also reduce the appearance of cellulite. This can be achieved with a simple selection of exercises, done in or out of the gym. Add in some good quality protein in your diet and you will notice the results in 4 weeks or less.

Cellulite Is A Multifactorial “Condition” Which Commands A Multifaceted Approach

Several factors increase the formation of cellulite. There is no one size fits all, or exceptional single technique that will completely eliminate it. If so insanely rich celebrities would not have it. Go down the surgery route and it will return.

These are the current best ways to address it.

1.  Reduce the size and number of fat cells

2. Live a healthy lifestyle – combined with diet and exercise this improves circulation which increases the bodies effectiveness at eliminating toxins and improving connective tissue

3.  Foam rolling has been shown to improve blood flow to the applied area and massage connective tissue- restoration of this will improve collagen regeneration and improve the suppleness and elasticity of tissue, keeping fat cells from pushing through to the skin

4. Increase Muscle Mass – this will tone and improve the skin quality. Creating a denser muscle texture will reduce the appearance of sagging skin

Exercises To Tone & Tighten The Skin Where Cellulite Appears

Squats – body weight 

bodyweight squat

or with a bar/dumbbells/household item

weighted squat

You can hold a medicine ball/household item in front of you or grab dumbbells by your sides. You can also place a bar behind your neck.

Lunges – weighted or bodyweight only

Squats and lunges will help firm up loose or lumpy skin on the quads, bum and hamstrings when combined with a fat reducing diet.

If all else fails, adopt a Kim Kardashian West approach and embrace the lumps!